BRTV | Fashion in Buffalo: Phylicia Dove – Buffalo Rising

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Phylicia Dove, owner of Black Monarchy, located in the Five Points District, has an impressive resume when it comes to fashion. She’s a director, buyer, owner and now costume designer. Through passion and dedication, Dove is one of the most influential designers in Buffalo. 
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Dove moved to Buffalo in 2010. She noticed that in general Buffalonians only wore African garments in February for Black History month, in June for Juneteenth, and in December for Kwanzaa. She asked, “what would it look like if I made a store and created a brand that made it accessible for people to see themselves in the fabric.”
“I wanted people to have the access to pick up some pieces that were beautiful, colorful and that represented their culture. And I wanted people to have the permission and freedom to feel like they weren’t [bound] by these three opportunities to showcase their culture.”
From childhood, She always knew she was interested in clothing and fashion, “I grew up with that desire,” Dove says. She recalls her love for colors and vibrant fabrics as a child and remembers her mother’s creativity in picking her outfits. Despite this passion, Dove was at one point on the path to law school. She describes her decision to not go forward with her legal career as the “best thing I never did.”
Instead Dove went on to get her bachelor’s degree in social justice and advocacy from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and her master’s degree in executive leadership with a specialization in non-profit organizing from Daemen University.
The passion for working in the fashion industry never really died. After working as a social worker and working for non-profits, Dove decided that she wanted a more direct impact on the world, “I wanted to heal people and fashion was my medium to do so.” 
“I had nothing to lose…so I went for it.” Dove describes how she got her start in the fashion industry, from wardrobe consulting for local news anchors to going to malls and asking if she can change their displays, Dove was determined to have her breakthrough moment. 
Not only is Black Monarchy a fashion brand and a retail location, Dove also founded her own not-for-profit, Black Monarchy Foundation, an organization that focuses on providing resources and to “touch lives in ways that are more direct.” Their mission is to help rebuild, restore, and recreate communities of color inspiring cultural confidence.
The goal of the foundation is to provide access and allyship, and provides mentorship and Internships opportunities for Students of Color. They host the Black Monarchy Scholarship for first generation graduates and first generation American students as well as the IamPhyNomenal Entrepreneurial series teaching small business owners how to effectively run a small business. They also have a direct hiring program for refugee and immigrants to provide access and skills, along with fair-trade agreements with international relations and advocacy.
Black Monarchy Foundation provides year round access to clean clothing, free food, community service for Buffalo’s homeless populations and are currently crowdfunding for WNY’s first mobile homeless unit equipped with shower capabilities and electricity to continue to provide free haircuts, showers and wellness needs.
After the racially motivated shooting on Buffalo’s Eastside, Phylicia started a GoFundMe, soon joined by Feed Buffalo and other community organizations, the campaign raised more than $210,000 to provide hot meals, food deliveries, non-perishable items, toiletries and other items to the impacted families.
This summer, Dove was asked to costume design Once On This Island at Shea’s 710. Since “the goal of Black Monarchy is to reignite cultural confidence within brown and black bodies…this particular project, I specifically had to prove Black Monarchy really does that.”
As Dove recalls her time on the production, she looks back with pride, it was “the most incredible and unique opportunity.” Buffalo Rising’s Peter Hall described the production, as “a non-stop 90-minute glory” with “stunning costumes” and the production received a rare 5 “Buffaloes” rating.
“For me, Buffalo gave me the confidence to go for it.” Because there are not currently many resources for producing garments in Buffalo, Dove saw a chance to bring out “something so new and beautiful.” 
“What I’ve been able to do here in Buffalo, I’m actually not sure I could have done in New York City.” She still sees the Queen City as an open canvas.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Olivia Rodriguez is no stranger to all things Buffalo. Currently, She is a senior studying journalism at Canisius College, where she has been cultivating a set of skills that help accentuate her writing abilities, giving her the ability to share her passions with the reader.
As one of the region’s most read publications since its launch in 2004, Buffalo Rising’s diverse editorial team delivers a wide range of relevant content to our readers as it unfolds in real time. An independently owned and operated digital publication, Buffalo Rising provides editorial and critical reviews on all topics that relate to Buffalo, NY.
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